1964-11-16 - Shelter From the Coming Storm
Summary: Chloe comes to Lamont, seeking shelter on Maximus' recommendation.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
chloe lamont 

It's late when there comes a knock on the door of the house. The wards let Lamont know that, in fact, someone is there, and that someone is a stranger, a strange who reads… different. Not a vampire, not a magician. Maybe a mutant? Nothing among the knowns. There is a polite pause, then another knock.

So, that's….not right. IT takes him a moment, because he's down in the basement communing with the astral, and Lindon is out with vampire boyfriend this evening. At least Morbius doesn't sparkle.

When he does show up, it's in shirtsleeves and pants, and he only opens the door a little. Because hidden behind the door, in the hand she can't see, is a Colt. 45. Just in case. "Yes?" he says, a little abruptly

Chloe's brows lift at the cautious reception, though she doesn't look offended. It's data to take in. She's a tall, slender young woman with a pretty face, warm brown eyes, her long hair pinned back with lots of loose strands. She's in a short dress with white tights, mary janes, and a loose sweater. If not for the wards declaring her strange in the way Maximus is strange, there would be no telling her from a pretty young thing who has maybe gotten lost.

"Hello," she says. "A mutual acquaintance of ours, Maximus, said you might be able to help me."

That makes him hesitate, look her over thoughtfully - not the kind of leer one might expect. The name of Maximus has his expression shuttering a little. "Indeed. Help you with what, precisely?"

Chloe pauses, pursing her lips as she considers her words carefully. "My friends and I are in town for awhile, and I'm afraid some of us have no place to stay. He said you would help." She does have a rather lost orphan look about her, showing up on the doorstep so late, all on her lonesome. "We're looking for connections. He recommended you."

There's a long, solemn staredown. Lamont has resting Dark Avenger Face at the best of times, and these ….they are not the best. But eventually he relents, holsters the pistol at the small of his back beneath his tugged-out shirt tail, and then pulls the door wide to let her in. "That's odd. I'd rather though Maximus didn't care overmuch for me. This strikes me as possibly a malicious joke, though I don't know if it's directed at you or me."

Chloe sighs softly. "I could see him pulling a prank. But, sir, this is rather important." She steps in, looking around the house with open curiosity. "My name is Chloe," she mentions. "Chloe Wilder." She offers her hand awkwardly, figuring out these human conventions as she goes. "Perhaps, though he may not care for you, he recognizes your abilities to render aid."

The thin lips t wist in evident dubiousness. But he accepts her hand, and bows over, a little. "Lamont Cranston," he says. "And….what is it I might do for you, other than offer a room for the night, and hospitality in general. If you'll come with me, the kitchen is this way. Not as grand as the rest of the house, but…'ve food and drink."

Chloe nods and says, "Yes, please, that would be nice." Her handshake is firm, but she holds back her strength. There's no desire to harm the human. She follows him to the kitchen. "A room for the night would be quite kind. I would tell you more about what's going on, but I have to discern you're not working for the enemy." And her way of persuading people is stabbing, so there's awkwardness in the words since she has no desire to draw Lamont's blood.

Lamont throws a glance over his shoulder, as he leads her back. "And who is the enemy?" he wonders, voice low, drawling. The gray eyes are still cool, gauging.

Chloe regards Lamont with those deep, dark eyes. She moves with sleek, hunter's grace, her gaze steady. "There's the catch, Mr. Cranston. If I tell you, I might reveal myself, and then… kittens!" Her eyes widen as the trio comes bumbling in, and she crouches, holding out a hand to them as her voice gains an octave. "Oh, look at you, you precious babies! Is this your daddy? Is he a nice man? Yes?" Athena holds back compared to the other two, but even she comes up to Chloe to sniff fingers and mew.

At that, he can't help himself - he smiles, and it's one of those that transforms his face utterly. "You sound like my housemate," he says, gently. "And I see." The kittens agree, should she ask, that Lamont is not a Skrull. Not as free with the treats as the other human, not as friendly, but nice enough.

Chloe gathers Pyewacket for a cuddle and murmurs, "Yes, he's a nice man. Oh, but you poor starving creatures, yes you are." Because there's no such thing as enough treats for the wee fur babies. Never mind she's patting a rather round fuzzy tummy. She looks up at Lamont from where she's crouched. If the kittens are who get to vet people around this place, she's in. She smiles at Lamont. "You're not one of them. The Skrull. You must be careful invoking that name, for they can hide in any guise."

The kitchen is clean and bright, as usual. He's still grinning, at that. But that name makes him somber again. "That is a name I've heard a time or two but….in places very far from here. Why should you think I might be one?"

"It's not that I think you might be one, Mr. Cranston," Chloe tells Lamont, "but rather I have to be sure you're not. I'm satisfied. We have reason to believe they are here on Earth, and they pose a threat to your people as well as ours. It's time that we… that we find connections in this society. Allies, I think, perhaps. Maximus recommended you, and the kittens say you're a good man."

"Do you care for tea or something else to drink? To eat?" He's already put the kettle on the range for now. "Many visitors there are here who don't wear their true faces," he agrees, mildly. "Allies against these Skrull? And what did he say about them?"

"I know only that they could be anywhere," Chloe says, "that they are interested in conquest; it is all they're interested in, and that their presence here is a bad thing. We must be wary and proceed with caution. I wouldn't speak so freely if not for Maximus' recommendation." She gives Pye another cuddle, then gives Athena a turn. "And the assurance that you're a nice enough man from three who know you well."

She looks up from the kitten-fuzzling and says, "I would like tea, yes, and something to eat. I'm afraid I can only pay you a little money for your hospitality, but I'll give you all that I have."

He waves it away with a flick of a hand, making the ring gleam. "No. If you are a bearer of necessary warnings, the least I can do is give you somewhere safe to stay. I have a housemate, a young man named Lindon. He won't bother you, I assure you. Will soup do for now, and sandwiches? I have little prepared at the moment," He sounds faintly shamefaced.

"Soup and sandwiches would be very nice," Chloe says, and she smiles at Lamont Cranston. For someone who moves like a hardened huntress, she has the smile of a sweet young thing. "I'll treat your housemate with kindness. These little ones say he's even more of a pushover." She boops Puck's nose, and he swats at her finger, which gets a laugh from her. Any minute now, cartoon birds are going to fly in and braid her hair. She seems content in her crouch, holding a mini kitten court. She murmurs to them, soft things like, "Yes, you are very fierce. You will grow up to be a mighty huntress." She then admits, "I am relieved. I would hate for my first attempt at contact to end in a fight."

"You talk to them, I see," he says, taking that in stride. At that last, he arches a brow. "Not precisely a way to make friends, no,' he agrees, drily. "Beef or chicken n your sandwich? And herbal tea?" The kittens…..well, in a strange way, they are vouching for her, too.

"Beef are fine beasts. I would like that, please." She wiggles her fingers for the kittens, taking their pouncing in stride. Babies need to play, after all. Especially baby predators who need to train for predating. "I speak to all animals," she says. "Plants to some extent, but there's nothing like animals." The kittens know a sucker when they see one. "If nothing else, I feel that warning someone who knows of the Skrull is useful. Another set of eyes isn't amiss."

No shame in bustling about making roast beef sandwiches for both of them. "Cheese on yours?" he asks. "And….most interesting. I take the warning seriously."

Chloe nods quickly, strands of he hair wisping about her youthful face. "You are wise then, Mr. Cranston. We will be doing everything we can to neutralize the threat. Not just to suit ourselves. I believe this world is worth protecting." She sweeps back a lock of hair from her face. "I've seen the alternatives."

The Shadow, butler, cook, and maitre d'hote all in one. But then, it is his big lonely pile of Gilded Age grandeur. He sets down the sandwiches, before putting down the soup pot to heat on the stove. "What precisely do you foresee, in terms of threat? These Skrull intend invasion? Covert takeover? Annihilation of native sentients?"

"I admit, I've never lived in the time of a Skrull invasion," Chloe says, "that I remember. My memory comes in starts and stops after… well, after I lost it." She doesn't dive into the sandwiches just yet. She's got a Pye chewing on her fingers, much to her apparent delight. "But I know that invasion is their… their thing that they do. They're not here to make friends. The takeover would be covert, at least at first. Where it goes from there, I'd rather not find out."

Lamont nods, lips thinned out in that particularly grim way he has. None of what she's said has been precisely music to his ears. He scoops up Puck, pets the little mischief maker between his ears. Puck, for his part, tries to turn to look up, make sure Lamont is not wearing a hat he can steal.

Because cats. Chloe smiles faintly at Lamont when he handles the kitten. Skrulls would never handle kittens so tenderly, she's sure of it. "Hence why we're seeking assistance wherever we can," she says. "Friends in need are friends indeed, and I think I could help you as much as you could help me."

"Very well, I am at your disposal. Though my powers are…very small scale," he allows without hesitation. "I know someone far more powerful than myself, though. Did Maximus mention what I can do?"

Chloe shakes her head. "He only said that I should come to you and bring whoever else needed to come. I believe they've all found temporary housing for the night, so it was only me." Poor Maximus, not getting to drop a half dozen culturally confused Inhumans on his doorstep after all. "What is it you can do?" she asks. "I'll tell if you will."

He doesn't like the idea. She's an unknown quantity. But someone must fold first. "To read and affect minds," he says, finally. "To conceal myself from perception. I could…." Lamont trails off, thoughtful. "Perhaps detect a Skrull disguised."

Chloe perks up. These powers seem to interest more than concern her. "That would be so useful," she says. "To be able to detect them, especially." She sets Pye down, then rises to her feet so she can talk to Lamont squarely. "I can speak to animals," she says, "and summon them. I have some command of plants, and I can make them grow strong and healthy. I, ah, because of a recent issue, I can sense demonic taint, and I can take shortcuts in space, but it goes through a hell dimension."

She can see Lamont filing those facts away, nodding rather vaguely. Puck mews in protest as he stops petting, and he sets the kitten down. "I see," he says, softly. "IF there is time and leisure, maybe I'll ask you to help with my gardening. I can also sense and deal with the demonic and the magical."

Chloe says softly, "I would be happy to, Mr. Cranston. I do miss my garden back home so." She settles before the sandwich, and she eyes the kittens lining up, because Lindon 'accidentally' drops meat sometimes. "I see your other human has you three quite pampered," she says, amused. Then, to Lamont, "It would be my pleasure to help out as much as I can." She relaxes when Lamont says he deals with the demonic and magical. "I should disclose something to you, then, so that you won't find them amiss." She steps back and heads for the door. "I'll be right back."

Lamont bows his assent, and g oes back to working on the soup. She can see the pistol he's still got stowed back there - the pulled out dress-shirt does little to hide it.

Chloe leaves, and when she's back on the property, it's noticeable before she enters the house again. There is something demonic she bears. Something she must have hidden in the bushes or something, and she's bringing it into Lamont's home. She steps inside, clutching her purse, and from within it, there is a thrumming of demonic energy. "These are quite harmless," she says as she opens her purse and draws two wickedly curved daggers. Nasty things, and demonic in nature. "They're trophies," she says, "from a demon I killed with my bare hands. Now I'm armed wherever I go."

The thing in the basement is lunging to the end of its chain and roaring. Lamont can sense it, and his eyes are wide with alarm when she returns. "May I see them?" he says, through numb lips, holding out a long hand.

Chloe hesitates, but then nods slowly and offers them over, hilt-first. They are indeed wicked things, and being cut with one would probably contribute to a bad day. "I only use them in defense of myself and my people," she explains. "It is how I help them, and now the innocents of this city when it comes to a fight."

He looks down at them for a long moment, pupils dilating. Almost trancelike, that. Reading what he can of them. "Be exceedingly careful with them, he warns, as he offers them back the same way. "They partake of much of their previous owner's nature, and might well lead you astray."

Chloe nods solemnly as she receives them. They go back into her purse, thrumming away with their inherent thirst for blood. "So far, I have mastered them," she says. She bites her lip, then admits, "I was trapped in a hell dimension. I didn't learn how to fight from any formal training, but I learned how to use these well."

A moment's long silence, as he tries to calm down his guardian, to reassure it as if it were indeed a guard dog. "I see," he says, softly. "How did that happen?"

Chloe shrugs and shakes her head. "As far as I can tell, someone near me opened a portal to a hell dimension and I fell into it. I saw signs of someone having been torn apart. Bits of… bits. I couldn't get out until I found a way to the hellmouth in Central Park. That's where I made it back into this world." She smiles fleetingly, and apologetic. Another damn wizard meddling in something he shouldn't, and some innocent girl pays the cost.

"But you are from here originally?" He's dispensed soup and tea, as well as the sandwiches. And how he's sat down to ignore his share of both and go back to petting Puck like he's an aspiring supervillain.

"Not from New York, no, but Earth, yes," Chloe says. She digs in to her sandwich, eating with the quick efficiency of someone unused to the luxury of time free from harassment. Like someone might take it away from her. "From our city. I shouldn't say too much, but Maximus could expound upon it. I don't have his authority."

He has that hieratic, oh-so-ready-to-judge-you face. Not hostile, not severe, but reserved to the point of near-coldness. But he relents, after a moment, and takes a mouthful of soup. "I'd spoken to him, long ago. He's royalty, isn't he?"

Chloe nods quickly. "Yes, he was our King once." She ducks her head as she says, "I didn't know he wasn't still when I met him, and it was a little embarrassing. He's… he's an interesting man. I think it's a good thing to hold his favor, don't you?"

A king. Lindon was sleeping with a king. And has slept with what seemed to be an archangel. Interesting. "He was? How didhe come to descend from the throne?" That voice could dry out a martini.

Chloe shakes her head as she says, "I'm not sure. We're led by a council of peers now." She samples the soup, then starts on it too with the same efficiency. So dainty looking to be eating like a soldier. "I was gone when that happened, and my memory is all turned inside out. I'm not even sure who I was before this, except for what's been told to me."

"But this people, to whom you belong, and of whom Maximus was king….who are they? Hidden, I take it?" Puck has consented to become a furbaby, held on his back, his ears and spine scruffed.

"Very hidden," Chloe says. She can't help but smile at Puck, the furbaby. "We mean no harm, though. If the situation were ideal, we would be hidden away and wouldn't bother anyone. The situation isn't ideal, though, so we've ventured forth, but I promise you, Mr. Cranston, I mean no innocent harm."

"Intent sounds all very well," he returns, as Puck tips up his tiny chin and goes squinty in pleasure. "But you still haven't said who they are." Lamont's apparently stuck on that question.

Chloe bows her head and says quietly, "I don't know that I can. We're not supposed to talk about ourselves, but here we are trying to garner allies, and I don't know the protocol. I'll ask Maximus next time I see him. If it's a secret I don't have to keep, I will tell you." She smiles a little. "Sorry. I'm not trying to be difficult."

Lamont inclines his head. "I understand. But you're asking me to join your war. How can I join a side if I don't know who will be fighting along with me? And I can ask Maximus himself, if he's to be reached."

Chloe shakes her head and says, "Right now, I'm asking if I can sleep on your couch. And to warn you what you might have to deal with, because it seems only polite to let one's host know there's a viper in the woodpile, as it were." She then adds, "Maximus is reachable, of course." She gives Lamont a number. "Sorry, I was being presumptuous."

He accepts the number with care, and then tucks it away in his shirtpocket. "Fair enough," he says, and there's an odd note of weariness in his voice. Being the Shadow is at times a sentence, and Karma has to keep its hand in where he's concerned.

Chloe murmurs again, "I'm sorry." She leans, arms folded before her. "To be the bearer of such bad news. Hopefully Maximus will be able to disclose who we are and it can be the beginning of a happy allegiance." She tentatively lays a hand on hi arm. There, there.

And he even unbends enough to pat it, gently. Puck looks over, tipping his little head backwards. "May it be so," he says, gently. And leaves it at that.

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